You’ve been in car wreck in Georgia. You may even be looking at this on your phone at the scene. I’ve got a few thoughts to share with you.
- Turn off the engine and turn on your hazard flashers. If you’re near the crest of a hill, try to get somebody to go to the top of the hill to warn people off.
- Call 911. Don’t let anyone talk you out of that even if they offer you cash on the scene.
- Use your camera phone to make a few very quick pictures of the position of the vehicles.
- If nobody is killed or seriously injured, move the vehicles out of the traffic lanes to clear traffic after you have taken those pictures.
- Don’t try and be a paramedic they should be there quickly after you call 911. There are a couple of exceptions. One, if somebody has blood gushing from an open artery, apply pressure with the heel of your hand to slow the blood loss using an item of clothing or plastic bag to guard against direct blood to skin contact. And, if there is an immediate threat of fire or explosion and it’s absolutely necessary to drag somebody clear to keep them from being burned up, roll up a jacket or towel or something and wrap it around their neck to protect against movement of the neck and very gently drag them out. But, at all costs don’t move the neck. They could get paralyzed if you do.
- Exchange information with other drivers. Names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license number and insurance information. You might even just take pictures of the cards with your phone camera and exchange those. But, don’t exchange social security numbers they don’t need it and it could be used for identity theft.
- Stay calm. Arguing, shouting, name calling, and accusations just don’t help.
- When a law enforcement officer comes to the scene be polite, respectful, courteous, and calm. Give accurate and complete information in response to the officer’s request. Make notes of the officer’s name, badge number and phone number. Most of them will just write it down and give it to you without being asked, and ask when and where you can pick up the accident report.
- Don’t place blame or accept blame at the scene. Just stick to the facts. Calm reflection and analysis may differ from your immediate instinctive reflex.
- Write down the other vehicle’s tag number or take a picture of it. If a large truck is involved, also get everything written on the side of the truck. That’s very important.
- If you’re hurt at all, don’t be a stoic hero. Even if you subjectively feel that you are just shaken up, accept an ambulance ride if it’s offered. It’s very common for symptoms to increase the hours and days after an accident. Honestly describe to medical personal exactly what you are feeling in detail, they won’t know if you don’t tell them. But never exaggerate, just tell the truth. If you’re injured go to the emergency room and then follow up with your doctor,
- If you get a ticket, don’t argue with the officer, it doesn’t help. Just sign the ticket to acknowledge receipt and deal with it later.
- Stay at the scene until the police and other driver’s leave unless you are taken away by ambulance.
- If another driver was at fault and you have a significant injury, call us after you’ve seen a doctor. I hope we can help.